Feeding Your Feelings

August 15, 2016

Written by Max Effect

Most people have the unfortunate reality of dealing with stress on a daily basis. Besides the direct effect stress can have on your health (heart disease, hypertension, etc.), it is the number one cause of overeating. So next time you’re in line at a fast food drive-thru, stop and think about whether or not you are there because of your emotions.

Emotional eating occurs when your feelings dictate whether or not you are hungry. When you are emotionally eating, you are using the food as a solution to soothe your stress.
Eating is a pleasurable activity because it stimulates the same center of the brain that releases those “feel good” endorphins. Foods like macaroni and cheese, chips, ice cream and usually anything fried, fall into the category of “comfort food”.

To counter emotional eating, you need to focus on your body. It is important to recognize your feelings and if you are stressed, sad, or upset. Pay attention to how and what you eat when you are feeling those emotions:

1. Hunger hits out of nowhere. You may have just recently eaten. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, think about what might be causing you to be hungry all of a sudden.
2. You eat and don’t ever feel full. Emotional eating can be done without really paying attention. You continue to eat even if you are not hungry because you are using the food to cope with your emotions rather than facing the real problem.
3. You make food choices that are out of the ordinary. Instead of preparing a meal for your family that you had planned, you order a pizza instead. This could be due to emotional stress, and experiencing this can lead to eating unhealthy foods and feeling guilty later.

Stress gets to everyone, and it certainly isn’t easy to deal with, but do not let it control your health. Taking control of your emotions and watching what you eat can make all the difference to staying on track with your weight loss.

If you feel like you are having trouble controlling your emotional eating, nutritional counseling can be a great tool for you. Healthy Habits supports all of its medical weight loss patients with counseling, and we have seen the difference it can make in having a partner in overcoming your weight loss issues.

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